My fourth great grandfather John (born 1763) made musical instruments. Two of his sons, George (1791-1872) and Charles (1798-1864) carried on the business in Princes Street, Soho and Northampton making violins, cellos and basses. These appear regularly in auction catalogues.

In July 2010 The Contre Bass Shoppe (double bass specialists) described on their website in detail a George Corsby bass with a price tag of £40,000 which they subsequently sold. It was described as being structurally in fabulous condition and the sound as absolutely awesome.



A man was walking around Dover when he happened upon a little antique shop, so he went in and took a look around. Way up on a high shelf he saw a little brass mouse figurine, and he really liked it. He asked the owner how much it was, and the guy said, "It's £20, and £50 for the story that goes with it." Well, the man didn't care about any old story, he just liked the little brass mouse, so he paid the guy £20 and walked out with the mouse in a brown paper bag. As he was walking home, he noticed the figurine was hollow with two little holes. Holding it up to his mouth, it made a melodious whistle. No sooner that he started, he was being followed by three little mice. When he stopped, they stopped. When he turned left, they turned left. "Whoa, this is creeping me out," he thought. As he walked, the mice were joined by more mice, until our hero looked like the Pied Piper. He started to run, and he wound up at the edge of Dover's White Cliffs. All the mice in town are right behind him. He is so freaked out that he throws the bag with the brass mouse over the cliff and into the water, and all the little mice jump after it, fall into the ocean, and drown. "Man, this is weird!" he says. He goes back to the antique store, and the owner doesn't seem surprised to see him. "Ahhh, you've come back to hear the story!" he says to our dilapidated hero. "No, man," says he, "I was just wondering if you have any little brass banjo players?"



A blind rabbit meets a blind snake. What are you asks the rabbit. I'm blind says the snake so I don't know. So am I says the rabbit, lets feel each other to find out. The snake feels the rabbit and says you are furry with big ears, you must be a rabbit. The rabbit feels the snake and says you are smooth and slimy with no ears, you must be a Band Leader.



Two men were in a bar and one said I've had my IQ checked and it was 180. The other replied, that's a coincidence, so is mine. What do you do for a living? I am a brain surgeon was the response. What a surprise replied the second man, so am I. A man further along the bar asked his neighbour did you hear that. My IQ is only 52. The other man said, that is a coincidence, so is mine - what make of drum kit do you play?



It is first day in school and the teacher askes each child their name and what their father did. The first little girl said "I'm Mary and my dad is a postman". The next was Andy who said "my dad is a mechanic". The next little boy says "I'm Johnny, and my dad is a stripper in a bar for gay men". The teacher quickly moved on but later asked Johnny if what he said was true. Johnny blushed and said "no, my dad's really a trombone player in a jazz band but I was too embarrassed to say so".



Two ladies walking along a footpath saw a frog. One of the ladies picked up the frog who said "If you give me a kiss I'll turn into a fantastic jazz pianist". She put the frog into her pocket. The other lady asked "Why didn't you kiss him?" "Because" she replied, "I can make more money out of a talking frog"!



The payroll for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra's appearance at the Mosque Theatre, Newark, New Jersey for the last week in January 1928 shows how values have changed. Star jazz players and arrangers commanded the top salaries while mere vocalists were considered relatively unskilled. The payroll included 300 dollars each for Bix Beiderbecke (cornet) and Jimmy Dorsey (sax); 375 dollars for the arranger Ferde Grofe; but only 150 dollars for Bing Crosby. The orchestra carried two banjo players earning 300 dollars and 200 dollars. No wonder Bix Beiderbecke had a drink problem!



The lift was out of order at Covent Garden tube station. As I descended the spiral stairs a beautiful saxophone sound floated up. When I reached the bottom the sound stopped and an angry London Transport official was berating the busker. Several people intervened "leave him alone", "the music was cheering us up." The official asked "Did you walk down?", "Yes" I replied. "You know why" he said, "this is the lift attendant. He has been warned twice about putting the lift out of action and busking. Now he is for the sack" I hope he made it as a sax player!



TV South had an evening local news programme and every month or so the producer used to feature a jazz spot. Their small studio in Dover only had two cameras so one was used for close ups and the other moved around taking long shots from different angles. West Indian singer Bobby Breen was the guest. Bobby who had a lisp chose to sing "Route Thixty Thix" and "Like Thomeone in Luth". After a talk through in the pub which lasted from eleven to three we returned to record the two songs and interview in one continuous take ready for unedited transmission at six. The first take was too long. The second take was fine but unuseable because in the interview Bobby was asked to what he owed his success and answered "draft Guinneth". The next take was great. Everyone played well and in my four bar solo break everything came off better than intended. Unfortunately the distance cameraman slipped on a cable and came up with a shot of Bobby Breen's boots. By this time we were running short of film and time. The final take was relatively tame as everybody played safe. But an enduring memory is Bobby singing "Lately I find mythelth gathing at thtarth, hearing guitarth like thomone in luth".